Resources for Faculty

Supporting Students with Disabilities

Supporting Students with Disabilities - This site has been designed as a resource for postsecondary education faculty and Accessibility Centre/Disability Services Office support staff, tutors, and mentors, particularly in New Brunswick, Canada, but is offered free of charge to anyone, anywhere who has an interest in the subject area. You can consider this a course made up of 11 modules including an introduction, up-to-date content, case studies, videos of students and instructors talking about their accommodation experiences, and reference material.

UPEI Student Affairs Guide to Helping Students in Distress includes how to identify, how to refer and the Student Lifecycle

How to support students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Increasing numbers of students with autism are enrolling in post secondary institutions across Canada. Although research on the prevalence rates for ASD is ongoing, a conservative estimate is 1 in 125 people and it is far more common in males than females, with a gender ratio of approximately 4:1 (Fombonne et al., 2006).  In the article, Supporting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions (June, 2014), recent research from CACUSS reflects a prevalence rate of students with ASD to be closer to 1 in 68.

As the Autism Canada Foundation (2011) points out, many individuals on the autism spectrum have academic strengths, such as high intelligence and skills with reading, music, memory, visual-spatial analysis, computers, and non-verbal reasoning, but struggle with life skills such as social interaction, communication deficits, transition, behaviour, organization, and time-management.

It is important that students with ASD are respected and valued for what they bring to the life of the university as well as being supported in the areas they struggle with. There are many recommendations and best practices in the resources listed below that faculty may find helpful in providing supports for students on the spectrum.

Group work

Students with ASD commonly have extreme difficulty with group work and the provision of an alternate form of assessment would be a desirable form of accommodation.

Unwritten Rules - Students with ASD and Group Work

Group Work Handout

Resources specific to ASD

Universal Design in Learning (UDL)

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a research-based set of principles to guide the design of learning environments that are accessible and effective for all while maintaining academic rigour. UDL is a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn.

  • UDL on Campus - We know that students are incredibly diverse in their learning needs, preparation, and approaches. UDL offers a practical instructional method to anticipate this learner variability and provide every student with equal opportunities to learn.
  • Implementing UDL - UDL is also an effective means for shaping learning experiences outside the classroom, such as online instruction, hands-on learning, or work-study experiences.
  • Ten tips for implementing Universal Design in Learning
  • UDL at a Glance - See how UDL guides the design of instructional goals, assessments, methods, and materials that can be customized and adjusted to meet individual needs.
  • UDL Guidelines - UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone--not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs.

UDL encourages multiple means of representation, expression and engagement at all levels of your course design; be it instruction, resources or evaluation/ assessment.

Three Principles of Universal Design for Learning:

Academic Accommodation Policy & Guidelines

The University of Prince Edward Island, founded on the tradition of liberal education, exists to encourage and assist people to acquire the skills, knowledge, and understanding necessary for critical and creative thinking, and thus, prepare them to contribute to their own betterment and that of society through the development of their full potential.

Recognizing its moral and legal duty to provide academic accommodation to the point of undue hardship, the University is committed to providing equal opportunities for students with disabilities, within a supportive and challenging environment and consistent with academic principles.

Accommodation Statement for Course Syllabus

Please consider including the following statement in your course syllabus:

“Students may request accommodation as a result of barriers experienced related to disability, or any characteristic protected under Canadian human rights legislation. Students who require academic accommodation for either classroom participation or the writing of tests and exams should make their request to Accessibility Services prior to or at the outset of the regular academic year. Please visit http://www.upei.ca/studentlife/accessibility for more information or contact Cathy Rose, Coordinator of Accessibility Services, at crose@upei.ca.

Note taking requests

A note taker may be required as part of a student’s accommodation. There is an honorarium of $250/course/term (with some exceptions). If you have students who are interested, send an email to notetaking@upei.ca

Accessible tables/ ergonomic chair(s)

Please note that your classroom may contain specialized accessible furniture and equipment. It is important that these items remain in the classroom, untouched, so that students who require their usage will be able to fully participate in the class.

Additional resources

Contact UPEI